The Real Deal 176: Fiber versus copper

John Cioffi joins the show to explain the difference between fiber optic cable and copper cable. Find out what you should know and why you should care.

Tom Merritt Former CNET executive editor
5 min read

John Cioffi joins the show to explain the difference between fiber optic cable and copper cable. Find out what you should know and why you should care.


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John M. Cioffi
CEO, and Chairman, Board of Directors

Discussion of Internet connectivity to the home 10-15 minutes
-What is Fiber and how does it carry a signal differently than copper?
-What is fiber to the node vs. fiber to the curb and what is the difference?
-What is DSM?
-Why do you favor DSM over fiber?

Rafe: Why should the consumer care one way or the other?
How much speed do we need in the home anyway?

E-mail and live call questions 20 minutes




Hey Tom and Rafe,
I wanted your input on where the future is regarding watching movies at home.

I ditched my Blockbuster account for getting DVDs via mail because I don’t watch enough to justify the monthly fee. Redbox is fine, the price is right, but inconvenient in that I have to go get it and return within 24 hours, I have trouble staying awake for an entire movie.

I am also familiar with Roku, but it seems limited with selection and quality of the picture. This would be for a theater room.

Where do you think the industry is going? Is blu-Ray going to be the standard for hi-definition movies? Or will we be able to get hi-def quality movies at home via a device like apple tv at a lower price and be able to keep it on the hard drive till finished watching the movie. I am hoping for this!

Answer: Actually the Roku may be what you’re looking for. It has a wider selection all the time with the addition of Amazon Video on Demand. And it’s now High-Def as well. ALL the online rentals have a 24-hour viewing period, which is idiotic.
… especially if you’re renting movies for airplane viewing (rant)
That said, I like Amazon video… can view on Tivo.


Hi Tom and Rafe,

OK, here is the deal, I have a rather large home network, well it seems

large to me…

In the spare bedroom I have a linksys WRT54G that has three wired

connections (one to my freenas server and one to my xbox 360 in the family

room and one to my son’s 360 in another room (running CAT5 through walls not

fun but that is another matter…) Plus we have about oh 6 or 8 computers

hooked up wirelessly. Now, everyone (all four of us, and yes, I know we

don’t need that many computers, but I LIKE computers…) prints through my

iMac. I would like to have another printer in the spare bedroom hooked up

for all of us to share. It is an old Lexmark all in one thing if that

matters. Currently we use it solely as a fax machine.

One possible scenario involves using my airport express but I like to take

that with me in my knapsack cuz, umm, cuz I like carrying stuff around with

me in case I need it…. I use it normally as an extender for the network

when at home. I carry it to other rooms a lot to boost the signal. I guess

I could buy another AE, but, I would like a somewhat cheaper way to go. I

am not averse to tinkering with stuff, and I have enough old machine parts

around that I could build another computer if need be.

Love the show.

Dave (the psychologist)

Answer: USB-to-ethernet print adaptors. Bing “USB print server”… abt $70
And many routers have USB built in.


Is the Addonics NAS adapter as good as Pogoplug? The reason I ask is because it’s $50 cheaper. Thanks.

God Bless,
Dennis Keefe

Answer: I haven’t used PogoPlug but I hear much better things about it. http://www.pogoplug.com/meet/

Addonics is great for Windows, not so much with Mac. http://www.addonics.com/products/nas/nasu2.asp

However they’re set up differently. PogoPlug shares your drive ont he Net naturally. It’s easy to set up Addonics NAS only shares it to the LAN. You have to configure it in yoru router to share it on the Net.

RN: I have a pogoplug. It’s great. UI and features might be a bit too simple for geeks, but it works as advertised and is probably the best solution if you want to share files inside and outside the local house netowrk w/o doing a lot of work.


I’m a bit old school I admit that, but likely the thing that spoils my day most is the
MEDIA that just auto start in my browser, why why ?

Somebody a lot smarter then me, must have made a tool that enables you to removed all sound from any application that is not approved,

I work a lot of times with some good songs and I’m even know to spend time on pod casts so I have sound on, getting a page like this is just a pain….. if I had a tool that just disable all sound from my web browser I be so happy !!


Answer: For IE go to Internet options > advanced tab >multimedia > uncheck play sounds in web pages. Opera has a one-click option to disable..Sounds in webpage. For Firefox try a plugin called Stop AutoPlay – http://lifehacker.com/291527/disable-audio-in-firefox-with-stop-autoplay

Or… Turn off your speakers

Win 7 – per app volume settings


Play movies backwards

I’ve always used VirtualDub. Free and feature-packed.

Here’s a tutorial:

-dr. karl


Tom and Rafe
As for free/cheep software for students check out Microsoft dreamspark http://www.dreamspark.com your school may have a club called OSUM http://osum.sun.com sponsored my Sun which has lots of sun related software as a benefit also student members of the ACM get MSDN-AA at http://www.acm.org

David The recent CS Grad from the U of Iowa.

//Rafe: Note, it’s for dev tools, not windows or office.


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